02/20/2009, 00.00
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Burmese military junta against satellite TV “threat”

Dictatorship claims satellite TV promotes a “decadent” culture that endangers “nationalism.” Mainland China is a model to “imitate” in order to protect “national interests” through censorship. Instead Burmese crowd teashops showing foreign TV programmes.
Yangon (AsiaNews/Agencies) – For Myanmar’s junta satellite TV is a “decadent threat” that “undermines nationalism” and has warned the people to “avoid satellite TV programmes,” dissident daily The Irrawaddy reported, citing various articles that have recently appeared in junta-controlled media.

On Tuesday for instance, state-controlled newspapers, The New Light of Myanmar, Myanma Alin and The Mirror, published editorials blasting satellite TV, saying that their programmes are particularly designed to wield influence, making use of media and arts to influence people.

For the dictatorship “certain countries are brazenly interfering in the internal affairs” of other countries, causing “political problems, instigating mass demonstrations, and demoralizing” the character and “nationalistic sense of the people through decadent programmes.”

The junta’s censorship especially wants to target TV programmes that include news stories that “are against government policy” and might “hurt national culture, customs, traditions and character of the people.”

If the government disregards and ignores the problem, the nation and the people will face evil consequences, the article said.

The editorial praise China’s model in which the government prohibits Chinese citizens from watching satellite TV programmes. It also notes that many countries prohibit and control such broadcasts to protect their national interests.

Soon after the crackdown on mass demonstrations led by Buddhist monks in September 2007, the junta attempted to control citizens’ access to satellite TV, in particular the Norway-based Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) as well as international broadcasters like Al-Jazeera, CNN and BBC

In addition to official propaganda on MrTv and Myawaddy, the military dictatorship allows entertainment shows, music and variety.

Most Burmese live however in conditions of poverty and cannot afford subscribing to satellite TV and so crowd teashops that show foreign stations, except news programmes which are regularly censored.

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